Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

that, being destitute of means to help themselves, they were forced to follow the current.”

The regular and secular clergy then, under their respective generals and bishops, are the two horns or ecclesiastical kingdoms of the papal catholic empire. These horns appeared to the prophet to be of a different form from those of the first or temporal beast : they resembled the horns of a lamb. Now, when we recollect that the second beast is styled a false prophet, we can scarcely doubt but that the symbol was so constructed in allusion to his spiritual character. Accordingly the two ecclesiastical horns claimed to be the only servants of the Lamb of God, and affected to be like him in meekness and humility. Solemnly devoting themselves to a life of celibacy, and ever engaged in a round of religious ceremonies, they appeared to the deluded populace to be saints indeed, far removed from all the cares and vanities of this transitory world. And, in order that this impression might not be too soon worn off, new saints were at seasonable intervals added to the calendar; and their names enrolled along with those of the real servants of the Lamb, the holy Apostles of the primitive Church. Even the sovereign pontiff himself, who had a look more stout than his fellows, delighted nevertheless to style himself, with sanctified hypocrisy, the servant of the servants of God...t

3. But, notwithstanding his lamb-like appearance, the beast spake as a dragon—The church of Rome, like a true child of that old serpent the devil, forcibly established and supported idolatry; claimed a proud superiority over all temporal dominion; advanced her interests with all the wily cunning of the serpent ; anathematized and persecuted to death the faithful servants of Christ; and esteemed every lie and every imposture, which ad

• Hist. of Henry II. cited by Whitaker, p. 416.

+ We may, if we please, suppose the cardinals to constitute the body of the second &east; and we shall then have the whole Romitb Hierarchy completely pourtrayed. “Praelati Romanenses in Universitate Pragensi congregati, contra Johannem Hussum et alios affirmant (in quarto suo decreto seu articulo), quod collegium cardinalium Roma sunt corpus Ecclesia. Cui respondet Johannes Hussus, Christum esse caput Ecclesiæ, omnesque fideles Christianos corpus esse Ecclesia Christi, Cui replicant Praelati processu longo et toedii pleno, ostendentes, quomodo Papa sit caput, et quomodo cardinalium collegium solum, et non alii Christiani, sint corpus Ecclesia.” Act. et Monument. A. D. 1414, p. 589,590,591. cited by Potter, Interp, num. 666, Cap. xix. p. 121.

WOL. II. 20

[ocr errors]

vanced her authority, a laudable and even pious fraud. That no faith is to be kept with heretics, is a well known maxim of this genuine offspring of the father of lies: that Kings excommunicated by the Pope, may be deposed and murdered by their subjects, is another of her maxims: and that the end sanctifies the means, that it is lawful to do evil that good may come, has been the avowed principle of the Jesuits.” Her dracontine cruelty and ferocity need no proofs. Where pagan Rome hath slain her thousands papal Rome hath slain her ten thousands. “The fourth council of Lateran,” says Bp. Burnet, “decreed, that all heretics, should be delivered to the secular power to be extirpated—lf a man had but spoken a light word against any of the constitutions of the church, he was seized on by the bishop's officers: and, if any taught their children the Lord’s prayer, the ten commandments, and the Apostles’ creed, in the vulgar tongue,f that was criminal enough to bring them to the stake, as it did six men and a woman at Coventry in the Passion week 1519.”f Here it may be observed, that, while the first or secular beast is represented as making war with the saints and overcoming them, it is no where said that the second or ecclesiastical beast and the image which he set up should do more than cause them to be killed. The above-cited decree of the council of Lateran shews how exact the prophecy has been in this particular. The little horn hath always worn out the saints by causing them to be killed, or by delivering them over to the secular arm,S not by literally slaying them itself. “Who can make any computation, or even frame any conception, of the numbers of pious Christians, who have fallen a sacrifice to the bigotry and cruelty of Rome! Mede hath observed from good authorities, that in the war with the Waldenses and Albigenses there perished of these poor creatures in France alone a million. From the first institution of the Jesuits to the year 1480, that is, in little more than thirty years, 900,000 orthodox Christians were slain. In the Netherlands alone, the Duke of Alva boasted, that within a few years he had dispatched to the amount of 36,000 souls, and those all by the hand of the common executioner. In the space of scarce thirty years, the Inquisition destroyed, by various kinds of tortures, 150,000 Christians. Sanders himself confesses, that an innumerable multitude of Lollards and Sacramentarians were burnt throughout all Europe; who yet, he says, were not put to death by the Pope and Bishops, but by the civil magistrates : which perfectly agrees with this prophecy; for of the secular beast” it is said, that he should make war with the saints and overcome them.”f 4. He exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him—Cardinals, Prelates, and Monks, were long the prime ministers of the European sovereigns: and the names of Wolsey, Ximenes, Richlieu, and Mazarine, are handed down to posterity as the most intriguing and ambitious of statesmen. The second beast indeed is properly “an ecclesiastical person, but he intermixeth himself much in civil affairs. He is the prime minister, adviser, and mover of the first beast.: He holdeth imperium in imperio, an empire within an empire; claimeth a temporal authority, as well as a spiritual ; hath not only the principal direction of the temporal powers, but often engageth

* The maxims of the Jesuits are these, “That actions intrinsically evil, and directly contrary to the divine laws, may be innocently performed by those who have so much power over their own minds, as to join, even ideally, a good end to this wicked action, or (to speak in the style of the Jesuits,) who are capable of directing their intention aright.” (Mosheim's Eccles. Hist. Cent. 17. Sect. 2. p. 1. cited by Whitaker.) Thus it appears, that the Jesuits were the prototypes of Weishaupt's diabolical sect of Illuminati.

+ In direct opposition to this abominable system of keeping the people in profound ignorance, the church of England specially charges all sponsors to provide, that the child, for whom they have been sureties, “may learn the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and the ten Commandments, in the vulgar tongue, and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul's health.” Office of Baptism.

# Hist, of Reformation cited by Whitaker, p. 419.

§ On this occasion, the Inquisitors, with a disgusting affectation of lamb-like meekness, are wont to beseech the civil magistrates to shew mercy to those unfortunate victims whom they themselves have given up to be consigned to the flames.

* It is not unworthy of notice, that Bp. Newton here speaks of the first Brait as being, what he really is, the secular Roman empire, as contradistinguished from the second Beast or the Roman church.

+ Bp. Newton's Dissert. on Rev. xiii. ł Here again the Bishop speaks of the first beat as being the secular empire. Thus does his original opinion force itself, as it were, upon him, notwithstanding all that

he had subsequently said respecting the identity of the papal little born and the fro beast.

- - - - - - - - - - -

them in his service, and enforceth his canons and decrees with the sword of the civil magistrate.”

5. He causeth the earth and all that dwell therein to worship the first beast whose deadly wound was healed— The nature of this worship of the secular beast l have already considered. It will be sufficient therefore at present to observe, that, since it is impossible for Daniel's fourth beast or the Roman empire to be literally worshipped, the adoration here spoken of must mean a devotion to those principles by which the empire was equally made a beast both under its pagan and its papal emperors, both under its sixth head and its last. Those principles consisted in the worship of images, and in the persecution of the saints : and it was the second beast, who by his influence caused the whole Roman earth once more to adopt them under Popery, as it had heretofore adopted them under Paganism ; it was the second beast, who made an image for the first, and caused all men to fall down and worship it.f

* Bp. Newton's Dissert. on Rev. xiii.

# I have adopted this interpretation of the worship paid to the first or secuiar beast, not as being free from all objections, but as that which after an attentive consideration of the subject appears to me liable to the fewest. The interpretation proposed by Bp. Newton, is to my mind very unsatisfactory. “As the first beast concurs to maintain the authority of the second, so he in return confirms and maintains the sovereignty and dominion of the first beast over his subjects; and causeth the earth, and them who dwell therein, to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He supports tyranny, as he is by tyranny supported. He inslaves the consciences, as the first beast subjugates the bodies of men.” (Dissert. on Rev. xiii.) Hence it appears, that the Bishop conceives the worship, which was paid to the secular beart at the instigation of the ecclesiastical beast, to be merely civil worship so far increased as to become passive obedience. Now, bad as tyranny in the state may be, the whole criminality of it must be ascribed to the governors not surely to the governed, to those who patiently submit themselves like the primitive Christians to every ordinance of man however tyrannical for the Lord's sake, lest by resisting they should receive dam-. nation. Were nothing more then meant by worshipping the beat than an unresisting submission to civil tyranny, or (as Mr. Whiston cited by the Bishop styles it) “a blindaledience;” the worshippers of the beast would never have been censured by the prophet for yielding such submission, however severely he might have animadverted upon the two beasts for recommending and exacting it. “If any man worship the beast and his image, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone 5–and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever; and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image.” (Rev. xiv. 9, 10, 11.) Can we suppose, that so severe a punishment as eternal damnation “will be inflicted upon those who suffer their bodies to be subjugated by the first beat " It is plain, that the worship of the beast is connected with the worship of his image; and that this worship is something so offensive in the eyes of God as to incur the penalty of hell fire: can it then mean nothing more than submitting to “the sovereignty and dominion of the first beat P* It may be remarked. that Bp. Newton'here again speaks of the first beat as being, not the Popay, but the secular Roman empire; and it may further be remarked, that his present interpretation of the worship paid to the least by no means accords with that which he had previously given, and which I believe to be the true one. “All the world wondered after the beast, and they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast, and they worshipped the beart, saying : Who is like unto the beast P Who is able to make war with him * No kingdom or empire was like that of the beast, it had not a parallel upon earth, and it was in vain for any to resist or oppose it, it prevailed and triumphed over all ; and all the world, in submitting thus to the religion of the beast, did in effect submit again to the religion of the dragon, it being the old idolatry with new names. The worshipping of demons and idol is in effect the worshipping of devil.” . (Dissert. on Rev. xiii.) Here we see a plain reason why the worship of the beast is threatened with eternal damnation : it consists in embracing those principles, which constituted alike the bertiality of the pagan and papal Roman empires ; not in paying civil bomage to the beast.

6. He doeth great wonders, in order that he may make jore come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men—“Miracles, visions, and revelations, are the mighty boast of the church of Rome, the contrivances of an artful cunning clergy to impose upon an ignorant laity.” These wonders the beast did partly in order that he might make fire come down from heaven upon earth; and partly, as we shall hereafter see, with a view so to deceive mankind as to induce them to set up an image and worship it. Heaven is a symbol of the church, and the earth of the Roman empire. The darting therefore of fire out of the church upon the secular empire must mean solemn interdicts and excommunications pronounced against those who dared to oppose the authority of the beast. History furnishes many memorable examples of such ecclesiastical censures. The whole kingdom of England was laid under an interdict in the reign of king John ; and numerous are the other European sovereigns, against whom the Popes have pronounced sentence of excommunication and deposition.* The submission of the people to this exorbitant stretch of power was founded upon their implicit belief in the sanctity, authority, and infallibility, of the Roman bishop and his hierarchy: and this belief was kept up by pretended miracles, which (it was asserted) none but members of the holy catholic church could perform : hence it is said, that the beast did great wonders, in order that he might bring down fire

* Brightman has the following curious remark on this part of the prophecy. “Hildebrandus, in epistola ad Germanos, Henricum quartum excommunicatione sua percussum, affatum fulmine dixit : nec temere, Spiritu procul dubio gubernante linguam, ut olim Caiphae, quo mundus intelligeret, qui bettia faceret ignem de coelo descendere.” Apoc. Apoc. Fol. 215.

« AnteriorContinuar »